Britain's Ancient Capital: Secrets of Orkney

Britain's Ancient Capital: Secrets of Orkney

Series 1 - Episode 2



In the first episode, we learnt that Stone Age Orcadians had a thriving community and culture hundreds of years before similar activity emerged in Stonehenge. Now the team are engaging in some very practical archaeology as they try to work out how people lived and moved around the 70-odd islands of the archipelago and the mainland around 5,000 years ago.

So Chris Packham investigates the history of whales stranding themselves on the islands, while Andy Torbet (who’s described as an archaeological adventurer – did such a job exist before Indiana Jones?) commissions a local team to build a boat of hide, wicker and dripping, then row it across the turbulent Pentland Firth. Unsurprisingly, there are doubters: “I wouldn’t fancy your chances,” says one expert, bluntly.


Andy Torbet and local seafaring volunteers build a boat made of just willow and cow hide, and set out to cross the dangerous Pentland Firth as the ancient Orcadians would have done. Neil Oliver investigates the extraordinary discovery of some human bones, Chris Packham goes in search of whales and Shini Somara uncovers the powers of the tides.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Chris Packham
Presenter Neil Oliver
Presenter Andy Torbet
Presenter Shini Somara
Executive Producer Rachel Bell
Series Producer Jamie Simpson
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